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Taking the piss

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

At art school in Wellington, where I was pursuing an MFA, at the exhibition finale in 2014, an undergraduate had lined up jars of piss on the window sill. I mean they might of not had anything to do with the installation or work. There was no accompanying blurb or title. They could of been turps or an afterthought, added in fear of failing the last submission. But they were there on opening night, people peering close to the glass hoping to gain some insight. The jars might not of been filled with urine. Maybe apple juice or vinegar or diluted Rose hip syrup. Nevertheless I thought they were piss, clear and fresh representing various states of body hydration, one pink toned hinting at beetroot salad for lunch.

In 1998 I traveled in Namibia on an overland truck with 25 others of various ages, nationalities and personages not least my BH ( Best Husband who was not that at the time, no where near). It was between 35-40 degrees, dry as a desert bone and we had to work very hard to keep our bodies from becoming

crispy chips of parched skin and sunken organs. When rarely, despite downing liters of plastic water, bladders were full, a shout would go up and the driver would pull over. Boys would go to the left of the the truck and girls to the right. We would squat with our backs to the boys. In stead of looking out over the vast landscape to the horizon, we would all be craning down to look at the color of the stream. Mostly mine looked like old strong tea made from one of those extra strong bags that had been left in a mug for 10minutes. One could never catch up with the evaporation out of the pores out in the desert. That's what art does. Or rather some random object in a space that has been opened up for an exhibition and happens to be in a the middle of an art school known for its bent towards conceptual and edgy contemporary art. It takes you into your memory bank and draws up whatever might of sat there dormant for decades. It might of been nice to have a title or maybe not. Words take you out on a different trajectory. I still look at the color of my wee to gauge hydration requirements. It's easy in a porcelain bowl, not so in the proposed compost toilet my BH has planned for our eco home. There could be an art piece in that.

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